In search of the answer if water can be a tool to attract high tech companies to Northwest Indiana, the Water Institute of now Purdue University Northwest launched a two-year study several years ago, said George Nnanna, Ph.D., P.E. Director based in Hammond. The goal was to determine if our region’s most abundant natural resource could be a catalyst to bring technology companies here. The outcome determined that water was a factor, but also important were socio-economic factors like high school graduation rates and lifelong learning by college students. Ironically, this study was a precursor to this region’s now celebrated initiatives to improve graduation rates, emphasize STEM careers, and prepare students with skills for work and life. This is just one of the ways that Indiana’s only university-based water institute is serving the region now focusing on advanced technologies for water quality. When BP was expanding to process Canadian tar sands and concern was raised over the levels of mercury for discharge into Lake Michigan, the institute teamed up with Argonne National Laboratory to develop technologies to help solve this problem. Even as the institute is receiving national recognition for its newly patented research into the manipulation of atomic particles called nanotechnology, the aim in its second decade is to commercialize cost-effective technologies to improve water quality. “In a time of aging infrastructure, we want to remind the world of the importance of ensuring water quality,” Dr. Nnanna added.